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The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. VIII
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I threw in this last sentiment to discover if there were any difficulties of the sort, which the French Minister had intimated to me might arise from the unsettled state of affairs alluded to in my letter of the 25th of February, when I consulted him as there mentioned. He replied, there were no such matters, nor would there be any difficulty, especially since the signing of the preliminaries of peace had been communicated to her Majesty, and that I might make myself perfectly easy about it, and send my letter to the Vice Chancellor as soon as I pleased. I have given you the substance of our conversation, omitting only the complimentary parts of it on one side and on the other. I have this day received a verbal message from the Vice Chancellor, acknowledging the receipt of my letter, and informing me, that as this was the first week in the great Lent, he had not yet had an opportunity to lay it before her Majesty. This, Sir, is the present state of things as far as they concern us immediately.

I have the honor to be, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

St Petersburg, March 21st, 1783.

Sir,

As I have not received an answer to my letter to the Vice Chancellor, I can say nothing upon it at present. The verbal message, mentioned in my last, was an apology for the omission of the first week; perhaps I shall have an answer in a few days; if so, I shall transmit a copy of it immediately.

I beg leave again to recommend to your attention the subject of a commerce with the British West Indies, to supply the defects of our treaties with France and with Holland. Great Britain is so eager to obtain a free commerce with the United States, that we may probably secure that of her West India Islands as a compensation for it. The commerce with her European territories only, is no longer an adequate one, since we have all the rest of Europe open to us. I have formed a plan of a commercial treaty with this empire, which, if aided by that circuitous commerce, I think will be found highly advantageous.

I have already advised you of my intention to quit this Court as soon as I shall have concluded the commercial treaty, even without waiting for the permission of Congress to do so. I pray you to represent the matter to Congress in such a light, that they may not consider it as disrespectful to themselves, or a breach of duty. It is truly, Sir, an act of absolute necessity, which Congress, doubtless without intention, have imposed upon me, by annexing an appointment to my office, which is not more than half sufficient to defray the expenses of it. As I can now do it with more freedom, not being interested in the matter, I take the liberty to acquaint you, that if Congress should think proper to send another Minister to this Court, of the second class, they should grant him at least L2500 sterling fixed appointment. I think L3000 will not be too much, or more than put him upon an equality with their other Ministers in Europe, or the Ministers of the lesser Sovereigns at this Court, leaving him to pay his Secretary out of the last sum. It will be further necessary to grant him at least L1000 more for his equipage and household furniture. He will find it exceedingly difficult with the best economy, to provide himself but decently with those articles, according to the fashion of this country with that sum. And he must, in some measure, adapt himself to this fashion or manner of living, or, in the eyes of those among whom he is obliged to live, disgrace his country.

My ideas of these matters are not extravagant. I find them fully supported by my own observations, and by the inquiries I have made respecting the appointments of the other foreign Ministers residing at this Court, as well as by the opinion of my correspondent, to whom, feeling the necessity of my situation, I have communicated my intention of returning to America, and disclosed to him the reasons of a conduct, which he might otherwise think unaccountable. I have consulted him as a private friend only. An ill state of health, the distance of America, the dangers of a winter passage, &c. &c. must be the ostensible reasons why I quit this Court without being relieved by another Minister, or waiting for the permission of Congress. I shall take the whole upon myself, and hope to be justified in the measure by Congress, when they shall be still more particularly informed of facts. It is necessary Congress should be acquainted with the foregoing facts, that if they should think proper to send another Minister before my arrival in America, he may not be obliged to follow the example I shall have set him, by quitting his station without leave.

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

St Petersburg, April 17th, 1783.

Sir,

My letter of the 7th of March will have advised you, that on that day I communicated my mission to the Vice Chancellor by a letter, the translation of which was enclosed. By that of the 12th of March, you will have a particular account of the assurances mentioned in the former, and which, together with the general state of affairs, confirmed me in the opinion, that I ought no longer to delay taking that step. I have not, however, yet had an answer to my letter. That the assurances I received were well founded at the time, I think, may not be doubted. What, it may be asked, has since taken place which could occasion any change? All that I know, or have heard of is, that on the 7th of February, three days after, and before my letter had been laid before her Majesty, a courier arrived with despatches for the French Minister, inviting her Imperial Majesty to mediate, in conjunction with the Emperor at the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace, between the Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and London; this invitation was immediately accepted; that an account has been received, that the King of Sweden has concluded a treaty of commerce with the United States, at Paris, or is at least in treaty with them for that purpose; that the King of France has signified to the Emperor, that since the Porte has made the concessions required by the Empress, and supported by himself, he had reason to expect all military preparations would have ceased; that he cannot regard the continuance of them with indifference, &c. &c. Add to these things, that her Majesty has been either so much indisposed, or particularly engaged, that she has not appeared at Court for more than a month past.

Whether either of these circumstances has occasioned this delay, is to me as yet uncertain. I wait to see the effect of a second letter, which I propose to send to the Vice Chancellor before I attempt to account for it. I have delayed this more than a fortnight, having been in daily expectation of an event which has not taken place, and which may have an influence in the case. I have omitted to write you by several posts, because I was in hopes all things which respect us would have been adjusted to mutual satisfaction, and I was unwilling to suggest anything to the contrary. But as Congress, from my former letters may have expected, that I might soon be on my way to America, and may perhaps name another Minister to this Court, before they receive any intelligence of my reception, I think it incumbent on me to make the present communication, that they may consider the expediency of sending another till they receive a certain account of my reception.

Whatever may be the event, I flatter myself if the general state of affairs at the time of the communication of my mission be considered, and especially the assurances which were given to me, it will not be thought that I have rashly precipitated that measure. It is difficult to conceive one solid objection against the admission of an American Minister into any Court of Europe, after the acknowledgment of our independence by the King of Great Britain, and the cessation of hostilities, which of course puts an end to all ideas of neutrality.

In this instant I am informed, that the event above alluded to has taken place, I shall therefore send my second letter tomorrow, a copy of which I will forward by the next post, when I shall hope to have an answer to my first, which will make known the pleasure of her Majesty concerning my mission. I have purposely avoided waiting upon the Vice Chancellor in person, that I might obtain his answer, if possible, in writing. When I shall have received it, whether it be favorable or not, I shall desire an interview with him. In this course my correspondent agrees with me in opinion. I have only to pray, Congress would be pleased to suspend their judgment upon this matter, and particularly upon my conduct in it, till they shall be fully informed of facts. All may yet end as we wish, it may end otherwise.

I have the honor to be, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

P. S. I make use of the cypher I sent you by Mr Adams's son, having laid yours aside for the reason there mentioned. Your printed one has not come to hand with your letter. Count Panin died since my last, much lamented. He had long lived a retired life in the city. His death, therefore, makes no change.

F. D.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

St Petersburg, April 22d, 1783.

Sir,

In my last I acquainted you, that I proposed to send a second letter to the Vice Chancellor the next day. I did not do it, however, till yesterday morning, when he sent me his compliments, and said he would present it to her Majesty. The following is a copy of it.

TO COUNT OSTERMANN.

"I did myself the honor to write to your Excellency on the 7th of March, to inform you of my mission on the part of the United States of America, to reside near her Imperial Majesty, in the character of their Minister, and to request the honor of an audience of your Excellency, that I might present to you a copy of my letter of credence to her Imperial Majesty. I have not yet been honored with an answer to my letter, having had only a verbal message from your Excellency, on the 10th of the same month that you had received it, but it being the first week in Lent, you had not had an opportunity to lay it before her Imperial Majesty.

"After the King of Great Britain has in form acknowledged the independence of the United States of America, and concluded a provisional preliminary treaty of peace with them, which has taken effect by the signing of the preliminary treaty of peace between their most Christian and Britannic Majesties, after those treaties have been ratified on the part of their Majesties, and proclamations in pursuance thereof have been issued by them, and also by the Ministers of the United States of America, ordering a cessation of hostilities, and after the British Parliament have solemnly engaged to observe and maintain those treaties; after such national transactions on both parts, I flatter myself it is not doubted, that the course of events has prepared the way for her Imperial Majesty to receive a Minister from the United States of America, without the least infraction upon the system of neutrality, which she had adopted and so gloriously maintained through the late war. Presuming, from your Excellency's message, that my letter was laid before her Imperial Majesty the week after, I take the liberty to request that you would be pleased to inform me of her pleasure thereupon, as well for the government of my own conduct, as for the certain information of the United States of America.

"I have the honor to be, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

"St Petersburg, April 21st, 1783."

I have some intimations of a very extraordinary objection, which has been suggested to my present admission into this Court, viz. that my letter of credence must necessarily bear date prior to the acknowledgment of the independence of the United States by the King of Great Britain. Should the answer to my communication be of that nature, I will let you know from whence I think it originates. But I shall think it my duty to leave this Court as soon as possible. For I should not dare to apply to Congress to revoke their first letter of credence, and send me another bearing date since that period, for the following reasons, which occur to me at once.

1st. Because it would be to desire the United States to strike off seven years of their existence, as free, sovereign, and independent States.

2dly. Because their compliance with it would, in effect, annul their resolution contained in the declaration of their independence, viz. "that as free and independent States they had full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things, which independent States may of right do."

3dly. Because it would imply on their part, that they owed their existence as a free nation, to the acknowledgment of their independence by the King of Great Britain.

4thly. Because as a consequence of this last position, it would go to annul all their acts of sovereignty prior to that period, and among others, the most important ones of their treaties with France and Holland, as well as their commissions granted to their Ministers at the Court of Madrid and other Courts, and such treaties as they have already made, or shall hereafter make in virtue thereof.

5thly. Because the requisition of new letters of credence bearing date since the period abovementioned, involves in itself a decision on the part of her Imperial Majesty, that the United States of America ought of right to be considered as a free, sovereign, and independent power, but in virtue of the acknowledgment of them as such by the King of Great Britain.

6thly. Because the granting of new letters of credence, would amount to a confession on the part of the United States, of the justice of such a decision.

7thly. Because a compliance with such a requisition would, in my opinion, in every point of view, be highly derogatory to the dignity of the United States, and is a sacrifice, which circumstances by no means require to be made.

But I hope for more wisdom, justice, and impartiality from her Majesty; and that I shall receive in a day or two, a satisfactory answer to my first letter.

I have the honor to be, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

St Petersburg, April 25th, 1783.

Sir,

In consequence of my second letter to the Vice Chancellor, of the 21st instant, he sent me a verbal message with his compliments on the 23d in the morning, and desired to see me at four o'clock in the afternoon. I waited upon him accordingly, and had a conference with him upon the subject of my mission. He began by saying that he had received the letters I had done him the honor to write him; that her Majesty had been invited by the Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and London, to mediate in conjunction with the Emperor, at the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace between them; that till those affairs were arranged, and the definitive treaty signed, her Majesty could not, consistent with her character of mediator, receive a Minister from America without the consent of those powers; that the treaty of America was provisional only, and dependent upon those arrangements; and though there was no doubt but they would take place, and that the definitive treaty would be concluded, yet, till that was done, her Majesty could not consider me in my character as the Minister of America.

Here he made a long pause, as if waiting for an answer, but knowing that the whole had not yet come out, I made no attempts to reply. He then added, that he supposed my letter of credence bore date before the acknowledgment of the independence of America by the King of Great Britain, and asked me if that was not the fact. I told him that it must necessarily be so, as a sufficient time had not since elapsed to receive one from America. He then said, that when the above arrangements should be completed, if I should produce new letters of credence, bearing date since the King of Great Britain had acknowledged the independence of America, her Majesty would be very willing to receive me as the Minister of America, but that it would be incompatible with that exact neutrality, which her Majesty had hitherto observed, to do it before; that it would be irregular also for her Majesty to admit a Minister from a power, whose letter of credence bore date before she had acknowledged the independence of that power; that besides, no Minister had been received from America at the Court of Great Britain yet, and that I must be sensible it would not be consistent for her Majesty to receive one before the King of Great Britain had done it. Here he stopped again; and knowing that he had gone through his whole subject, which comprises these simple matters only, viz.

1st. That her Majesty could not, consistent with the character of a mediator as above, receive a Minister from the United States, till the conclusion of the definitive treaty between France, Spain, and Great Britain;

2dly. That she could not do it even then, consistent with the laws of neutrality, while his letter of credence bore date prior to the acknowledgment of their independence by the King of Great Britain;

3dly. That she could not do it regularly, while his letter of credence bore date before she herself had acknowledged their independence;

4thly. That she could not do it consistently before a Minister had been received from the United States in Great Britain.

I desired him to favor me with a note containing the substance of this answer, as it was of great importance, and much in affairs of this sort depended upon the very expressions; that with the fairest intentions, I might misrepresent some parts of it through forgetfulness, and that I would deliver him my observations upon it in writing for consideration, when the exact state of the matter would be known. Finding, as I had expected, that he declined this, I began my reply with a preface of this sort; the answer, which your Excellency has given me on the part of her Imperial Majesty, is wholly unexpected, not only to myself, but to the United States. I cannot, therefore, take upon me to say anything upon it from instructions. I beg you would be pleased to consider whatever I may say as my private sentiments; whether they will accord with those of my Sovereign, I am not certain. At this great distance, I must use my best discretion in all such extraordinary cases. I have no design to oppose myself to her Majesty's pleasure, whatever that may be, but only to make some observations upon the answer, that if they are of any weight, they may be taken into consideration, as I have no doubt they will be. I would beg to take this occasion to express the high respect, which the United States entertain for her Imperial Majesty, and their sincere desire to cultivate her friendship; that they considered her as one of the first sovereigns of the world, and, in a manner, the great legislator of nations by her system of neutrality, which they had early highly applauded, and had made the principles of it the invariable rules of their conduct during the war; that, animated with sentiments of this kind, they wished to give some strong proofs of a distinguished attention and consideration for her Majesty's person and government. With this view, they had early named a Minister to reside near her, as a compliment to the Sovereign who presided over the Neutral Confederation with so much glory; that he might improve the earliest occasion to display his character, which the course of events should afford.

From these dispositions, they were naturally led to expect, as they had intended, that her Imperial Majesty would be the first of the neutral powers, which should receive a Minister from them; that as to the objections, which had been made to my present reception, I begged leave to observe, that the present mediation differed from the former one, which had been tendered by their Imperial Majesties, in two essential respects, that that was tendered during the continuance of hostilities, and that there was a proposition in it, which materially concerned the United States, but in this there was no question relative to them; that their negotiations with Great Britain had been conducted apart from those of the other belligerent powers, and were brought to a happy conclusion. I here took up all the facts stated to him in my second letter of the 21st instant, and enlarged upon them. I added to them, the bill pending before the House of Commons in the beginning of March, for regulating a commercial intercourse between Great Britain and America, as between States, in fact, and absolutely independent; and that the bill itself recited, that the King had concluded a peace with them, and expressly declared the vessels of their citizens should be admitted into all the ports of Great Britain, as the vessels of other independent States; that all were agreed to consider them as such. From these matters, I drew the same conclusion as is mentioned in that letter.

This closed my observations upon the first article. As to the second, I went over the reasons contained in my letter of the 22d instant to you, urging strongly the four first, but passing gently over the rest. Upon the third, it was to be observed, that the mode of expression "before her Majesty had acknowledged the independence of America," seemed to lead beside the matter. That there was no question in the acknowledgment of that independence. The only question was, whether her Majesty would receive a Minister from the United States, who now presents himself. The United States do not ask the acknowledgment of their independence, nor have they a wish, nor do they claim a right to impose their Minister upon any Sovereign. Every Sovereign will judge, whether it is for the interest of his empire to receive the Minister of another, and may do this without deciding upon the perfect rights of that other. This is rather what I would have said, than what I did say upon that point. I could not fully advance the idea, as he several times prevented me, by returning to the matter he had before spoken upon, as if he saw what I intended to say and wished to avoid it. The fourth and last point was chiefly answered by the arguments used upon the first. I did not, however, forget the distance of the countries as the only probable cause of that delay.

Thus, Sir, I have given you a clear idea of a conference, which rests wholly upon my memory, and which had continued an hour wanting a few minutes, as far as I am able to do. Other arguments occurred to me in the time, which might have been urged, but I was apprehensive of obtruding too much upon the patience of the Vice Chancellor, whose view it must be considered, was rather to communicate the answer, than to discuss the points of it.

An important question arises out of this state of things. What remains to be done on the part of the United States? It belongs to me only to answer what I propose to do further myself, which is to draw a memorial containing this answer, with such observations upon it as shall occur to me, tending to show the futility of the objections, which have been made to my immediate reception, and to send it to the Vice Chancellor. To such a measure I am advised on a good part. If this answer should be persisted in, I believe it may be truly said, that the honor of the United States will not suffer by it, in the estimation of any other Sovereign in the world. It is so different from the line of conduct, which some of the powers, who are members of the Neutral Confederation, have adopted already respecting the United States, as for example, Portugal, Denmark, and Sweden, and that which it has been intimated the Emperor was ready to adopt, (of which Mr Adams received an account through Mr William Lee, and which he immediately transmitted to me, and, probably, to Congress also) that, if I mistake not, the effect of it will be quite of another kind. It will be seen to be subversive of the very principles upon which it is pretended to be established, and so revolting in its nature, that it is utterly impossible the United States could ever comply with it.

I plainly told the Vice Chancellor, that for myself, I could never make the proposition respecting my letters of credence; and that if I should, I had no expectation they would ever adopt it, and, therefore, my waiting here the length of time, which it would be necessary for me to learn the pleasure of Congress upon it, seemed to be useless. I cannot in any case quit this country till towards the end of May, because there is no getting out of it before by land or water. I still hope it will not be thought I have precipitated the measure at a time when, if ever it could be, the course of events had prepared the way for it, and when it shall be considered too, that the first objection arises from a matter which took place since. As to the others, they are of so strange a nature, that they could not have been expected by any one, and which no time can do away.

I am under a necessity of closing this letter, without adding anything which may attempt to account for this very unexpected conduct on the part of her Imperial Majesty, otherwise I shall lose the post of the day.

I have the honor to be, with much respect, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

* * * * *

ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO FRANCIS DANA.

Philadelphia, May 1st, 1783.

Sir,

An opportunity will offer of writing to you by a frigate in the course of next week, when I shall be able to treat more fully the subject of your letters of December 21st, and January 3d and 15th, which have been duly received, and which are now under the consideration of Congress. This is principally designed to cover the enclosed resolution, directing your return, unless you should have commenced a treaty of commerce. But upon examining your instructions, you will find that the embarrassment you speak of with respect to the money to be paid upon signing the treaty, cannot exist under your present powers. With respect to the Neutral Confederacy, it is a treaty which is now of little consequence to us, and since we were not admitted to it during the war, we ought not to pay for admission upon a peace; besides, that it can no more be considered as a treaty with her Imperial Majesty than it is a treaty with all the other neutral powers, whose Ministers may with equal propriety demand the perquisites you speak of. Therefore, let it be understood, that as the United States, or their servants, are above receiving perquisites or presents, so they have not the presumption to assume such superiority over those with whom they treat as to offer them.

With respect to a commercial treaty, none can be signed by you, as your powers only extend to "communicate with her Imperial Majesty's Ministers on the subject of a treaty, &c." but not to sign it; so that you will find no difficulty upon the subject you speak of; if you should, I am persuaded that it is the wish of Congress rather to postpone any treaty with Russia, than to buy one at this day.

I have seen your letter to Mr Morris on the subject of your salary. The mistake you mention shall be corrected. I was led into it by not having been furnished with the resolution you mention, among those relative to salaries sent me from the Secretary's office. However, it is of no consequence as yet, since the sums remitted with what you have received from Dr Franklin, will exceed the amount of your demand. You can now draw on Dr Franklin for three quarters' salary, at one thousand pounds sterling, a fourth is enclosed in a letter from Mr Lewis Morris to you; the last quarter's due in April will be subject to some deductions, as you will see by the enclosed resolutions transmitted you by Mr Lewis Morris, out of that quarter. I shall pay Mr Tracy's order, counting the commencement of the year from the date of the order.

I am, Sir, with great respect, &c.

ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

* * * * *

TO COUNT OSTERMANN.

St Petersburg, May 8th, 1783.

Sir,

I do myself the honor to lay before your Excellency the enclosed Memorial, containing what I take to be the substance of the answer to my letter, communicating my mission to your Excellency, which you delivered to me verbally on the 23d ultimo, and also the reply which I then made to it, together with some other observations upon it, which, fearing to obtrude too much upon your time, I omitted to make. The whole being thus reduced to writing, takes away all danger of mistakes on either part, and may be more deliberately and accurately considered. I hope this will be deemed a sufficient apology for the additional trouble it may give your Excellency. I pray you would be pleased to favor me with an answer to this Memorial in writing, or otherwise to grant me the honor of an interview with your Excellency, that I may know the final pleasure of her Imperial Majesty respecting my mission.

I have the honor to be, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

Mr Dana's Memorial to Count Ostermann.

The undersigned, named by the United States of America to reside near her Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, in the character of their Minister, has the honor to lay before your Excellency this Memorial, containing the substance of the answer he received verbally from your Excellency on the 23d ultimo, to his letter communicating to you his mission abovementioned, and also his reply to the same.

The answer which your Excellency has given to him on the part of her Imperial Majesty, is unexpected not only to himself, but to the United States also; for which last reason he is unable to say anything upon it from instructions. He nevertheless thinks it to be his duty in so extraordinary a case, which will not admit of his waiting for their particular instructions to make use of his best discretion, in replying to it. He prays, therefore, that this Memorial may be considered as containing his private sentiments only. Whether they will accord with those of the United States he cannot be certain. Sensible that it is the right of every sovereign, to judge whether it is compatible with his views, or the interests of his empire, to receive the Minister of another; and persuaded also, that the United States have not even a wish to obtrude their Minister upon any Sovereign, the undersigned has not the least intention to oppose himself to her Imperial Majesty's pleasure, whatever that may finally be, but only to make such observations upon the answer he has received as have occurred to him, which, from the known justice of her Imperial Majesty's character, he has no doubt will be taken into deliberate consideration, and be allowed their full weight.

He would improve this occasion, to express the high respect which the United States entertain for her Imperial Majesty, and their sincere desire to cultivate the friendship of a Sovereign, whose glorious reign, and eminent virtues have so long fixed the attention, and commanded the applause of the world. They consider her as one of the first Sovereigns of it, and in a manner the great legislator of nations, by her wise and equitable system of neutrality, which they have fully approved, and have made the principles of it the invariable rules of their conduct during the late war. Animated with sentiments of this kind, they wished to give some strong proofs of a distinguished attention and consideration for her Imperial Majesty's person and government. With this view, they early named a Minister to reside near her, that he might improve the first occasion to display his character, which the course of events should afford. From these dispositions the United States were naturally led to expect, that her Imperial Majesty would be the first of the neutral powers, as they had intended, which should receive a Minister from them.

Answer.

I. "Her Imperial Majesty having been invited by the Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and London, to mediate in conjunction with the Emperor, at the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace between them, and having accepted that trust till those arrangements are completed, and the definitive treaty is concluded, she cannot, consistent with her character as mediatrix, receive a Minister from America, without the consent of those powers; the treaty with America is provisional only, and depends upon those arrangements. Though there is no doubt but they will take place and the definitive treaty be concluded, yet till that is done, her Imperial Majesty cannot consider you in your character as the Minister of America."

Reply.

The present mediation differs from the former one, which had been tendered by their Imperial Majesties, in two essential respects. That was tendered during the continuance of hostilities, and while the great object of the war, the independence of the United States, was still in question. It contained also a proposition, which inseparably connected their interests with those of the other belligerent powers. At such a time for her Imperial Majesty to have received a Minister from the United States, would have been to prejudge the most capital subject of the proposed negotiation, and most certainly repugnant to the character of a mediator, if not to the laws of neutrality. But in the present mediation there is no question relative to the United States, nor can there regularly be any made upon their interests, as they are not parties to the mediation, and consequently have no right to send their Ministers to the Congress. If then the United States are not concerned in any arrangements to be made under the present mediation, the matter seems to rest upon the general law of nations, and to be reduced to this simple question: whether the reception of a Minister from them at this moment, would be incompatible with the laws of neutrality? If their independence is already completely acknowledged by the King of Great Britain, is not the question decided in the negative?

In the preliminary treaty, "His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the United States to be free, sovereign, and independent States; that he treats with them as such; and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claim to the government, property and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof." But it is said, the preliminary treaty between the United States and Great Britain is provisional only, and depends upon the arrangements to be made at the conclusion of the definitive treaty, between Great Britain and the other late belligerent powers, under the mediation of their Imperial Majesties. If we look into that preliminary treaty, we shall find, that the only provision or condition contained in it is, that the definitive treaty between the parties "is not to be concluded until terms of a peace shall be agreed upon between Great Britain and France." Now these terms having been agreed upon by the preliminary treaty between their Most Christian and Britannic Majesties, the preliminary treaty between the United States and his Britannic Majesty has become absolute, and the definitive treaty between them may be concluded at any time, and without waiting for the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace between France and Great Britain. It may not be improper to remark here, that even that condition was not annexed to the acknowledgment of the independence of the United States; it was far from having been inserted into the treaty at the request of the British Commissioner. It was inserted by the Commissioners of the United States, to save their faith plighted to his Most Christian Majesty. However this fact may be, it seems to be certain, that neither the preliminary treaty, nor definitive treaty between the United States and Great Britain, can depend upon any arrangements to be made under the present mediation.

But if the case should be otherwise, it is conceived, that the provisional nature of the preliminary treaty, cannot affect the acknowledgment of their independence, by the King of Great Britain. For although from abundant caution, this has been inserted into the preliminary treaty of peace, yet it has never been a subject of negotiation. The United States would never submit to negotiate for their independence their very existence. They early resolved, and have uniformly persisted in that resolution, that they would not enter into negotiation with the King of Great Britain, unless, as a preliminary thereto, he would acknowledge their independence. Hence the failure of many attempts to draw them into a negotiation, without a compliance with that resolution. And hence the necessity the King of Great Britain has been under, to revoke a former commission granted to Mr Oswald, on the 7th of August last, to treat with them under the name of "certain Colonies and Plantations in America," and of granting him a new one, on the 27th of September, in which he was authorised and required to treat of a peace or truce, with the Commissioners of the "Thirteen United States of America" (naming them all,) "any law, act, or acts of Parliament matter or thing to the contrary notwithstanding," giving them their proper corporate name and title.

Their independence being thus clearly, unconditionally, and solemnly acknowledged by this commission, passed under the great seal of the kingdom, as a preliminary to any negotiation, and in full compliance with the foregoing resolution, the negotiations were then, and not before, opened, and have by the blessing of God, been brought to a happy conclusion. Their independence being once acknowledged, is it not irrevocable in its nature? If in the moment the British Commissioner entered into negotiation with the Commissioners of the United States, in virtue of his last commission, any neutral power had declared it would consider and treat them in every respect, as sovereign and independent States, and would protect the lawful commerce of its subjects with them, would this have been a violation of the laws of neutrality? If not, much less could the King of Great Britain pretend it would be so, after the conclusion of the preliminary treaty with them, after that treaty has become absolute, by the conclusion of the preliminary treaty between his Most Christian Majesty and himself, after a cessation of hostilities has been proclaimed by them, and also by the Commissioners of the United States, and finally, after the Parliament of Great Britain has solemnly engaged to observe and maintain those treaties, which puts an end to the question, if it was ever seriously made, upon the authority of the King, to make such a treaty with the United States.

In conformity with sentiments of this kind, we have seen that the Queen of Portugal, a member of the neutral confederation, and a Sovereign in the strictest amity with the King of Great Britain, has by an edict opened the ports of her kingdom to the vessels of the United States, and promised them the enjoyment of the same hospitality and favor, which the vessels of other nations there enjoy. In all probability the King of Denmark has adopted a similar line of conduct towards the United States.

Answer.

II. "When these arrangements shall be completed, and the definitive treaty be concluded, if you shall produce new letters of credence, bearing date since the King of Great Britain has acknowledged the independence of America, her Imperial Majesty will be very willing to receive you as the Minister of America. But it would be incompatible with that exact neutrality, which she has hitherto observed, to receive you while your letter of credence bears date before that time."

Reply.

This objection seems deeply to affect the rights and interests of the United States. The United Colonies, on the 4th of July, 1776, erected themselves into an Independent Sovereign Power. Great Britain, notwithstanding, kept up her claim of sovereignty over them, without having any in fact. The war was continued on the one part, to maintain the actual possession of sovereignty, and on the other, to regain that sovereignty which had been lost. Despairing of success, Great Britain acknowledges, but does not grant, the independence of the United States. The United States have not, therefore, acquired the rights of sovereignty, in consequence of this acknowledgment of their independence. Their independence must necessarily have existed prior to the acknowledgment of it by the King of Great Britain. At what period then can the commencement of it be fixed, if not at the time when they declared themselves independent? Have they not from the moment of the declaration of their independence, been constantly in the actual possession and full exercise of their sovereignty? Not to meddle with the matter of right, the fact is beyond all question. The undersigned thinks, therefore, it is incompatible for him to propose to the United States to revoke his present letter of credence, because it bears date prior to the acknowledgment of their independence by the King of Great Britain, and to grant him another bearing date since that time, for the following among other reasons.

1st. Because it would be to propose to the United States, in effect, to strike off near seven years of their existence, as free, sovereign, and independent States.

2dly. Because their compliance with it would amount to a confession on their part, that they owed their existence, as a free nation, to the acknowledgment of their independence by the King of Great Britain.

3dly. Because it would go to annul all their acts of sovereignty prior to that period, and among others, the important ones of their treaties with his Most Christian Majesty, and with the United Provinces of the Low Countries, as well as their commissions granted to their Ministers at the Court of Madrid, and other Courts, and such treaties as they have already made, or shall make in virtue thereof.

4thly. Because it would be repugnant to a resolution contained in their declaration of independence, viz. "that as free and sovereign States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things, which independent States may of right do."

The United States have been induced to constitute this mission thus early, solely from the laudable views abovementioned. It is singularly unfortunate then, that the very circumstance, which they intended as a mark of particular respect and consideration for her Imperial Majesty's person and government, should be turned against them, and have an operation to defeat the design of it.

Besides, it is to be observed, that the King of Great Britain has by his Commissioner, consented to treat with the Commissioners of the United States, whose powers had date long before he had acknowledged their independence, and without requiring them to produce new ones bearing date since that time. Which is a strong and necessary implication, that he did not consider that acknowledgment as conferring their sovereignty upon them, but, on the contrary, they were a complete sovereign power before, and had a full right to name their Ministers as such, to treat with him of a peace. He cannot, therefore, consider it as a violation of the laws of neutrality, if any neutral power should consider them in the same light, and receive their Minister, whose letters of credence bear date prior to his acknowledgment of their independence.

Answer.

III. "Besides, no Minister has been received at the Court of London from America yet, and her Imperial Majesty could not consistently receive a Minister from America, before that Court had done it."

Reply.

There seems not to be any objections against the immediate reception of a Minister from the United States at the Court of London, which might not be made with equal force against the reception of Ministers from any of the other late belligerent powers, and as they have already mutually sent and received Ministers, it is highly probable there are, in fact, no such objections existing. The omission, therefore, must be attributed to the only apparent cause, viz. the great distance of the two countries, which alone would render the appearance of a Minister from the United States at the Court of London impossible. Unless it should be supposed that Court is averse to forming any intimate connexions with the United States, the contrary of which seems to be the case, from the generous, liberal, and wise policy they have in contemplation respecting them.

But if it should be laid down as a principle, that the powers of Europe could not consistently receive a Minister from the United States till one had been received at the Court of London, it might have serious consequences upon the exercise of the right of sovereignty, and the most important interests, not only of the United States, but of such of the powers of Europe, as have not already received a Minister from them. For it would oblige them, whether they chose to do it or not, if they wished to form connexions with those powers, to send a Minister to the Court of London, as a step necessarily preparatory to that end. And when they had done this, it would be in the power of that Court, by refusing to receive him, to render their design abortive, and thus to prevent all friendly and beneficial intercourse between those powers and the United States, which cannot be formed and maintained but by the instrumentality of public Ministers.

If then it is clear, that the United States are not at all concerned in the present mediation, that their provisional treaty has become absolute, and that their definitive treaty may be concluded at any time, and without waiting for the conclusion of the definitive treaty under the mediation; that their independence has been unconditionally acknowledged by the King of Great Britain, as a preliminary to any negotiation; that it is irrevocable in its nature; and if the observations made upon the other objections are well founded, it is confidently hoped from that justice and impartiality, which have ever formed so distinguished a part of her Imperial Majesty's character, that it will be thought, all obstacles to the immediate reception of a Minister from the United States are removed.

FRANCIS DANA.

St Petersburg, May 8th, 1783.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

St Petersburg, May 9th, 1783.

Sir,

Having very little doubt that this letter will be opened at the post office, I do but enclose a copy of the Memorial spoken of in my last, which I sent yesterday to the Vice Chancellor, and of my letter accompanying it. They will not, I presume, detain the letter merely to give themselves the trouble of copying or translating papers, the original of which is in the hands of the principal Minister. I have only to apologise to you for the slovenly appearance of this copy, with its interlineations and obliterations. I have not time to make a fair copy for this day's post, and though but a few days might be lost here by waiting for the next post, yet an opportunity might be lost for a long time by it, of forwarding it from some port in France.

I have the honor to be, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

St Petersburg, May 9th, 1783.

Sir,

By this day's post I have sent you, by the way of France, a copy of the Memorial, which I yesterday delivered to the Vice Chancellor. In that I have expressly declared, that I could not reply to the answer I had received from instructions, and desired that it might be considered as containing my private sentiments only upon the subject. This I thought it advisable to do, not only because it was the strict truth, but that Congress might be more at liberty, if they should judge it expedient, to disavow the whole. A reply I deemed absolutely necessary for me to make, to endeavor to show that the objections, which had been made to my immediate reception were invalid in themselves. Whether I have succeeded in the design, is for others to judge. It is to be observed, however, that I have thought myself under the necessity of omitting to urge some very obvious and forcible reasons, from an apprehension, that from the extreme sensibility of her Imperial Majesty, they would give offence, which I was determined to avoid as far as possible, without sacrificing the honor of the United States.

What the effect of this Memorial will be, it is impossible to say. I have no sanguine hopes from it. If it should not effect a change of resolution upon the matter, I still think I ought to leave this empire, without waiting here at least six months longer, to learn certainly whether Congress would consent to revoke my present letter of credence, and to grant me a new one bearing date since the acknowledgment of the independence of the United States by the King of Great Britain, of which I have not the least expectation. But if they should be inclined even to do this, would it not be more eligible for me to return, when they would have an opportunity to get rid of the matter without any revocation of letters of credence, by nominating another Minister after I had quitted the empire. If I might offer my opinion upon this subject, I do not think the advantage of a Minister at this Court will compensate for the expense of it.

Of all the causes, which might occasion this answer of her Imperial Majesty, I can think of none which is likely to have more influence in the case, than the second matter pointed out in my letter of April 17th, as having happened since my communication was made. It will be wondered, perhaps, how that could have such an effect, and it may be supposed it would have a direct contrary one. I supposed quite otherwise when I mentioned it, and I feared the consequence of it when it was known here. This is to be accounted for only, from particular local knowledge of what kind of influence governs here. I shall lose this day's post, if I do not immediately close this letter.

I have the honor to be, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

St Petersburg, May 13th, 1783.

Sir,

I did myself the honor to forward to you, by the last post, of the 9th instant, by the way of France, a copy of the Memorial I presented the day before to the Vice Chancellor, and of my letter accompanying the same. By this day's post, I send you a second copy of them through the same channel, and a third, by the way of Holland. I wrote you a separate letter on the day of the last post, not thinking it advisable to trust it with the packet. For the same reason, I send those by today's post unaccompanied with any letter to you.

I have before given it as my opinion, that if this answer of her Imperial Majesty should be persisted in, it will not wound the honor or dignity of the United States in the sentiment of any Sovereign of Europe. I am more and more confirmed in this opinion, as I reflect upon the objections, which have been raised against the immediate reception of a Minister from the United States. They appear to me to be totally unsupported by any principles of sound policy, or of the laws of nations. So far from its being thought, that the communication has been precipitated, I believe it is rather a matter of wonder, why it was so long delayed. Every one will see, that the course of events had most certainly prepared the way for it, judging upon any fixed principles. The other neutral powers were accordingly inviting the United States to enter into political connexions with them; and none of them have really a stronger interest to do so than this empire. The account alluded to in my letter of the 25th of April, as having been transmitted to me by Mr Adams, is as follows. (Extract of a Letter from William Lee, February 18th, 1783.) "I am advised, from very good authority, that the Emperor is desirous of entering into a treaty of commerce with the United States of America, on terms of equality and mutual advantage. Therefore, shall be much obliged to you for informing me, if there is any person in Europe authorised by Congress to enter into such a treaty with her Imperial Majesty," &c. Is it probable, after such an inquiry, that that illustrious Sovereign, if any of your Ministers in Europe had communicated such powers, would have made either of the objections, which have been raised here? The motives, which have given occasion to so singular a determination on the part of her Imperial Majesty, will be known. I can speak very generally only upon this subject while I remain here. I must again, therefore, beseech Congress to suspend forming any judgment upon this matter.

I propose to wait a reasonable time for an answer to my Memorial. If none should be given, or the former one should be persisted in, I shall then set off for Stockholm, from whence I will write to you more freely, first taking another step, which appears to me advisable, I mean, to communicate what has passed at this Court, to the foreign Ministers, to prevent misrepresentations to the prejudice of the United States. The truth I think can do them none.

I am in hopes of receiving an answer to the Memorial in a few days, and will transmit you an account of it immediately. In the meantime, I am preparing to quit this city in case it should not be such as we have a right to expect from the uniform conduct of the United States respecting her Imperial Majesty.

I have the honor to be, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

* * * * *

TO JOHN ADAMS.

St Petersburg, May 15th, 1783.

Sir,

You will see, with astonishment, I dare say, the objections that have been raised against my immediate reception at this Court. I must acquaint you, that the first has taken place since I made my communication; the courier having arrived here with the proposals three days after, viz. on the 27th of February. However, I think it far from being a solid objection. The second is of so extraordinary a nature, that it is impossible, in my opinion, that the United States can ever comply with it. If they should incline to do it, it shall never be done upon my request. I would perish before I would propose it to them. If they have not lost all sense of their own dignity, and I believe they have not, they would sooner resolve never to send a Minister to this Court during the life of the present Sovereign. I have said all upon that point that I thought it prudent to say in my Memorial; but you will at once perceive, I must have suppressed some very forcible arguments merely to avoid giving offence. It is not my business to embroil matters between the two countries; quite otherwise.

With this view, I have openly disavowed all instructions relative to the subject, and expressly desired that my reply may be considered as containing my private sentiments only. This leaves Congress at full liberty to avow or disavow whatever they think proper. They may sacrifice my reputation and character, if they judge the interests of our country require it, but I will never sacrifice the dignity of the United States, by seeming, for a moment, to give into a proposition, which I conceive would be an eternal disgrace to them. For this reason, I have resolved, after waiting a reasonable time for an answer to my Memorial, if none should be given, or the first be persisted in, to return with all speed to America. Which again will be the means of leaving Congress more at liberty to act, by affording them an occasion of sending another Minister here, if they should incline to do it, without being under the necessity of revoking my letter of credence and granting me another, bearing date since the acknowledgment of our independence by the King of Great Britain. I spare all reflections upon this system, if it can be called one, of politics; and shall not attempt to account for it at this time.

I have the honor to be, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

* * * * *

ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON TO FRANCIS DANA.

Philadelphia, May 27th, 1783.

Sir,

Since my last, a copy of which will be transmitted with this, Congress were pleased to pass the enclosed resolution limiting the term to which they conceive the duration of the treaty of commerce to be proposed to Russia should be confined, and directing that it should be in no way obligatory upon them, till they had revised and approved it.[26] This latter part of the resolution, will I dare say make no difficulty, since it only conforms to the powers you already have, and which if you have made any propositions, must I presume have been made under this restriction. You will find, however, that Congress do not wish to perplex or embarrass you, if your propositions are not exactly conformable to their intentions, but have left it to your discretion to proceed if you are too far engaged to recede with honor; but they are still anxious not to engage extensively in commercial treaties, till experience has shown the advantages or disadvantages that may result from them.

I wish you had enlarged upon this subject so as to have shown minutely the conveniences, that will arise from trading with the dominions of her Imperial Majesty under a treaty rather than without. You hint at one of them, when you speak of the different coin in which the duties are to be paid, but not having explained the value of the money of the country, or the amount of duties, we know not what advantage we are to gain from being permitted to pay them in it.

By a late resolution, Congress have been pleased to direct, that the postage of letters and the payment of couriers be allowed as contingent expenses.

Give me leave, Sir, again to remind you, that your letters have hitherto been silent on the subject of government, police, laws, arts, manufactures, finances, civil and military establishments, &c. It is true, a general knowledge of these may be acquired from several publications; but minute and accurate details are necessary to answer political purposes; and as you have much leisure, an ample support, and the means of acquiring this information, with the ability to employ those means to the best advantage, I must again request you to impose this task upon yourself, and to consider it as a standing instruction, to write at least once a week on these subjects.

I have nothing to add as to general intelligence, since my last, but that Congress have ordered that furloughs be granted to about two thirds of the army. And that we have some reason to complain of the infraction of the seventh article of the provisional treaty; Sir Guy Carleton having sent off numbers of slaves under pretence of having come in under proclamation, which gave them their freedom, and they could not be within the letter or spirit of the article.

I have the honor to be, &c.

ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

FOOTNOTES:

[26] "In Congress, May 22d, 1783. Resolved, that Mr Dana be instructed, in case he has not already proceeded too far in the commercial treaty between the United States of America and Russia, that the treaty be limited to the term of fifteen years; and that the same be subject to the revisal and approbation of Congress before they shall be under obligations to accept or ratify it." For the proceedings of Congress on the subject of Mr Dana's letters, see the Secret Journal, Vol. III. pp. 344-354.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

St Petersburg, May 30th, 1783.

Sir,

I have already sent you three copies of the Memorial, which I presented to the Vice Chancellor, Count Ostermann. There is no doubt, now hostilities have ceased, but one of them at least will come safe to hand. It has all along been uncertain to me what the effect of the Memorial would be, that is, whether it would produce any change in her Majesty's present plan of conduct towards the United States. I had in view by it principally, to place our affairs in such a point of light, that if her Majesty should persist in her answer, the dishonor of it, if any, should not fall upon the United States.

The Memorial was as unexpected to the Vice Chancellor, as his answer was to me, after the previous assurances I had received, that all obstacles were removed. He expected the whole matter would have ended with the conference I had with him. In which case they could, and they would without any scruple, have made what they pleased of it; have varied it, added to it, or diminished it, as future circumstances should render expedient. To prevent this, finding I could not obtain a note in writing of the substance of the answer, I determined to make that certain, as well as my reply to it, by throwing the whole into a Memorial.

Not having received an answer to this, as I had desired in my letter accompanying it, on the 28th instant, I wrote another letter for the Vice Chancellor, as my ultimatum, and intended to have sent it yesterday, but a private friend called upon me in the evening of the same day, and told me he was informed, that I should have an answer in the course of this week, which would be satisfactory to me, but that he knew nothing of the particulars. Upon this intelligence I have omitted to send my letter to the Vice Chancellor, and shall wait patiently for the answer, at least through the week. Though my expectations are not sanguine from this information, which I have no doubt has been delivered exactly as it was received, yet it gives some room to hope for further explanations upon the subject, and that a proper system, such as the true interests of this empire point out, may be finally adopted, and without my coming to the last measure, that of quitting the country, a measure which I cannot but consider as indispensably necessary to the maintenance of the honor of the United States, if her Majesty should persist in her first answer. A few days will now determine whether all obstacles to my reception are effectually removed, or whether more plausible pretences only are intended to be opposed to it. Not a moment shall be lost to communicate to you whatever may take place relative to so interesting a subject.

As to general news there seems to be no doubt of the war breaking out between Russia and the Porte, but it is still thought that the Emperor will not take a part in it, knowing the consequence of his doing so will be a general war upon the continent, in which he may probably suffer much. I am told the Khan of the Crimea, who has lately been restored by Russia, has ceded that important peninsula to the Empress, and retired into the Cuban. Thus that country has been made independent of the Porte, but to become a province of this empire; an event which most have been foreseen, though probably not expected so early. You will find some particulars relative to the Crimea in my letter of the 15th of January last. Russia must henceforward be considered as having the absolute command of the Black Sea. But on the other hand, she will not probably be able to act with her fleets in the Archipelago against the Turks, as in the last war, for a plan it is said, is forming by the House of Bourbon, to render the Mediterranean a privileged sea like the Baltic, (which was done by a confederation of the powers bordering upon that sea) by a similar confederation of the powers upon the Mediterranean. By this means the Russian fleet will be obliged to quit that sea, and France without entering into the war will render a most essential service to the Porte. Seven sail of men-of-war, which had received orders to sail from hence and Archangel, to join the fleet at Leghorn, have in consequence of this plan, as is supposed, been stopped. It is said likewise to be intended to suppress those troublesome piratical people upon the coasts of Barbary, and who so frequently insult the first maritime powers of the world, and in a manner make them all their tributaries.

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

St Petersburg, June 6th, 1783.

Sir,

In my last I acquainted you, that I had been informed I should receive a satisfactory answer to my Memorial, in the course of that week. None has yet been given. Through the same channel I was yesterday informed, that it was intended to give the answer on Monday or Tuesday next. From this delay I am inclined to think, they wait to receive an account of the definitive treaty, when all ideas of a mediation will be done away. This is daily expected here. The other objections may be then dropped. It would be thought perhaps to be too humiliating to give them all up at once. In this way probably the whole may be compounded. I shall wait patiently in this expectation till we receive that account.

I have the honor to be, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

* * * * *

TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

St Petersburg, June 17th, 1783.

Sir,

Although we have not received any account of the conclusion of the definitive treaty, under the mediation of their Imperial Majesties, I have the satisfaction to acquaint you, that our affairs have taken the turn, which I supposed in my last they might do. This is the utmost effect I could ever expect from my Memorial, for the reason mentioned in that letter. On Saturday morning I received a note from the Vice Chancellor, of which the following is a copy.

Translation.

"Count Ostermann begs Mr Dana to do him the favor to call on him today at one o'clock, taking this occasion to assure him, with great pleasure, of his perfect esteem.

"Saturday, June 14th."

Having waited upon him accordingly, he entered into a conversation tending to explain away the principal parts of his first answer. He said, however, that he did not intend that as the answer to my Memorial, this being included wholly in the note which he would read to me, and that I might take a copy of it to prevent any mistakes, which is as follows.

Translation.

"I have not failed, Sir, to place under the eyes of the Empress, my Sovereign, the letters which you addressed to me on the 8th and 10th of April, accompanied with a Memorial and a supplement to that Memorial.

"Their contents proving that you have taken in a wrong sense what I had the honor of saying to you previously respecting the overture, which you made to me relative to the honorable commission with which you are charged, I have renewed to you the expression of satisfaction with which the Empress has accepted the mark of attention, which your constituents have shown in sending to her a person expressly clothed in a public character, and that she will receive him with pleasure in that quality, as soon as the definitive treaties, which are now on the eve of being concluded between the powers, who have been at war, shall be consummated. Her delicacy has been a law to her not to make any advance before that time, which should be considered inconsistent with those principles, which have characterised her strict impartiality during the course of the late war. In other respects, the Empress designs that you shall enjoy, not only in your own person, but also your countrymen, who shall visit her empire either on commercial or other affairs, the most favorable reception, and the protection of the laws of nations.

"As to what I said to you, Sir, concerning the date of your letters of credence, there has been no occasion for any question respecting the consequences you have drawn from it. The conduct, which the Empress has held during the whole course of the war, sufficiently proves the impartiality of her sentiments, renders all discussion on this subject unnecessary, and ought to be perfectly satisfactory to you."

To which I returned the following answer.

TO HIS EXCELLENCY COUNT OSTERMANN.

"I have considered the answer to my Memorial, which your Excellency gave to me, on the part of her Imperial Majesty on the 14th instant, as contained in the written note, of which you permitted me to take a copy. Knowing the high sense the United Status of America have, of that strict impartiality between all the late belligerent powers, which her Imperial Majesty has so evidently manifested during the course of the war, and that they would not wish any propositions should be made on their part, which she might possibly think in the least degree repugnant to it, I omitted to make the communication of my mission to your Excellency, till the conclusion of the preliminary treaty between the Courts of Versailles, Madrid, and London, had been in form communicated to her Imperial Majesty. It is to be observed, that at the time I made it, the mediation had not taken place, the despatches relative to it, if I am not mistaken, having arrived three days after. The other matters being waved, I shall conform with the utmost satisfaction, to her Imperial Majesty's manner of thinking respecting the present mediation, and wait the conclusion of the definitive treaty of peace. I have a most grateful sense of the assurances, which her Imperial Majesty has been pleased to give to me, that in the meantime, not only myself, but such of the citizens of the United States, as affairs of commerce or others may bring into her empire, shall enjoy the most favorable reception, and the protection of the laws of nations.

"I pray your Excellency to accept my sincere acknowledgments of the polite manner in which you communicated the answer to my Memorial.

"I have the honor to be, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

"St Petersburg, June 16th, 1783."

You will not suppose, from anything contained in the answer to my Memorial, that I had misstated any part of the first answer. Whether my reasoning upon the several parts of it is just, or not, you are best able to determine. If I have drawn consequences from it that are not true, as the reply supposes, it has at least had the effect to remove every obstacle except that of the mediation, which a very short time will probably put an end to, and also to draw forth an express assurance of the most favorable reception of the citizens of the United States, of a liberty freely to carry on their commerce with this empire, and under the protection of the laws of nations. If this is not in effect giving up every objection, so far as they have any pretence to be grounded upon established principles, I am greatly mistaken in the matter. Considering it in this light, I have made no difficulty to declare, that I should conform, with the utmost satisfaction, to her Majesty's sentiments respecting the mediation. Thus, I flatter myself, all discussion of every kind, especially of matters of so much delicacy, is at an end. I am much deceived, if what has taken place will be of the least disadvantage to our interests. I am happy to add, I found the Vice Chancellor in an exceeding good disposition; and have every reason to expect that all will go on in future in the most perfect harmony.

You will observe mention is made in the written answer of a letter of the 10th of May, and of a supplement to the Memorial. This is nothing more than to introduce a paragraph, which I had omitted to insert in the copy sent to the Vice Chancellor. You have it in the second and third copies which I sent to you, but not in the first.

Her Majesty will set off in a few days for Fredericksham, a town in Finland, near the frontiers of her Empire, to meet the King of Sweden. The object of their meeting is supposed to be to insure tranquillity on that side, while the war may be prosecuted on the other against the Turks. The information respecting the Crimea, which I communicated to you, is not yet beyond all question. If it has not already become a fact, there is little room to doubt but it will, in the course of a short time. Protection and subjugation are not far separated in such cases. Besides, it forms so capital a part of the present ruling system, that no means will be neglected to effect it as early as possible.

The duplicate of your letter of the 17th of December, was brought me by the last post; the first copy has not come to hand, and the enclosures sent with that, you say in a postscript, are omitted in this for want of time. They are, however, become useless by the great change of peace. It is not the trouble, but the danger of meddling too particularly with the subjects you speak of, that has hitherto prevented my going further into them. You will be pleased to recollect, as I have mentioned before, that I have no cypher from you but what has come to me through this office, and that the duplicate of it did not accompany the duplicate letter, which was said to enclose it. I am not without my apprehensions, that it was taken out of your letter here. I have never received any other cypher than the first from you, though it seems by your letters, that you had sent me both a written and a printed one since. I sent you one by Mr Adams's son, who left me last October, but instead of being two months as I expected at furthest upon his route to Holland, he has been near six, so that you have not probably received that.

If you will be pleased to turn to my letter of the 30th of March, and to read that single sentence in it, which begins with the words "There has lately been a lively sensation," &c. you will find the great object which has constantly engaged the attention of this Court. It is the polestar of their system, and everything else has been subject to its influence. Nothing has been adopted but with a view to facilitate the execution of that project. The policy mentioned in the last paragraph of my letter of October 14th, (sent by Mr Adams,) had no other object in view. You will instantly perceive the reason why I have supposed they would have been well pleased with the events there pointed out. You will see of course, that the different turn those affairs have taken cannot be very agreeable here, and how they may, and in fact do, obstruct the great project in this moment. Sir, I have been very unwell for four days past, and am at this instant so feeble, that I can add nothing more than, that I am, with much respect, &c.

FRANCIS DANA.

* * * * *

PLAN OF A COMMERCIAL TREATY BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE UNITED STATES.[27]

ARTICLE I.

There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, and a true and sincere friendship between her Imperial Majesty and her heirs and successors to the throne and the United States of America, and between the countries and territories situated under their jurisdiction respectively, the people and inhabitants thereof, and between their citizens and subjects of every degree without exception of persons or places.

ARTICLE II.

The rights, liberties, privileges, immunities, and exemptions respecting navigation, trade, commerce, or the distribution of justice, which now are, or hereafter shall be granted by either of the contracting parties to any nation whatever, by any treaty, tariff, law, or ordinance whatever, shall immediately become common to the other party, whose citizens and subjects shall enjoy the same in as ample a manner, to all intents and purposes, as if the articles and clauses in virtue of which, they now are, or hereafter shall be granted to any nation, had been inserted into this treaty, and made a part thereof.

ARTICLE III.

It is particularly agreed and concluded, that the citizens and subjects of the contracting parties respectively, shall freely enjoy the right of passing with their vessels from one port to another, within the territories of the other party, of going from any of those ports to any foreign port of the world, or of coming from any foreign port of the world to any of those ports. The citizens and subjects of the contracting parties respectively, shall pay within the territories of the other party no other or greater duties or imposts, of whatever nature or denomination they may be, than those which the most favored nations now are, or hereafter shall be obliged to pay. And it is particularly agreed, that the citizens of the United States may pay the duties and imposts laid upon merchandises which they shall import into, or export from Russia, and which are or shall be ordered to be paid in rix dollars, in the current money of Russia, at the rate of one hundred and twentyfive copeaks for each rix dollar of full weight. The citizens and subjects of the contracting parties shall have full liberty of navigation, trade, and commerce in all parts of the territories of the other party where navigation, trade, and commerce now are, or hereafter shall be permitted to any other nation whatever; and to that end they shall mutually have free liberty to enter by water and by land with their vessels, boats, and carriages, loaded and unloaded, into all such ports, harbors, rivers, lakes, cities, towns, and places, within the territories of the other party, where navigation, trade, and commerce now are, or hereafter shall be permitted to any other nation, and there to import or export, to sell or to buy all goods, wares, and merchandises of any country whatsoever, the importation and exportation of which shall not be prohibited; and to remain there or to depart from thence, with their vessels, boats, carriages, and effects, paying the duties and imposts prescribed in each place, and conforming, with regard to their boats, vessels, and carriages, and the transportation of their effects, to the laws established in the place where such transportations shall be had and done, and which shall not be repugnant to any articles or clauses of this treaty.

SEPARATE ARTICLE.

Whereas, it may sometimes happen, that the citizens of the United States of America, may make circuitous voyages from America, through some other parts of Europe into Russia, and may take on board their vessels merchandise of the growth, production, or manufacture of such other parts of Europe, with an intent to carry the same into America; it is agreed, that such merchandises shall not be liable to seizure or confiscation, when they shall be brought into any port of Russia, although they should happen to be of the sort called contraband or prohibited merchandise, nor shall they be subjected to the payment of any duties, either of importation or exportation, or of any other duty whatever; provided, always, that they shall not be attempted clandestinely to be landed, or be exposed to sale, but a full report of all such merchandise shall be duly made to the Custom-house, and they shall if required, be deposited in some suitable magazine, under the custody of a proper officer of the port, to be reloaded on board the same vessel, when she shall have made up the residue of her cargo to be exported for America, according to the original intention, paying only the expense of storing the same and other reasonable charges.

ARTICLE IV.

And to enable them more amply to enjoy the benefits and advantages granted in the foregoing articles, the citizens and subjects of the contracting parties shall mutually have full liberty to establish factories in all parts of the territories of the other party, where such liberty now is, or hereafter shall be granted to any other nation whatever; which factories shall enjoy the same rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions, as those of the most favored nations.

ARTICLE V.

All special advantages and benefits, of whatever name or nature, which are or hereafter shall be granted by either of the contracting parties, in virtue of any treaty, tariff, law, or ordinance, in favor of any nation where commodities of the growth, production, or manufacture of its territories shall be imported, whether in their own vessels or others, by a direct navigation into the territories of the contracting party, which shall have granted such advantages, shall immediately become common to the other contracting party, whose citizens and subjects shall fully enjoy the same special advantages and benefits, to all intents and purposes, whenever they shall in their own proper vessels, likewise import the same commodities into the territories of the party granting the same, by a direct navigation from the territories of such favored nation.

ARTICLE VI.

It is further agreed and concluded, that when any of the commodities of the Islands, commonly called the West Indies, or of other neighboring Islands, or of any part of the continent of America, shall be imported into any of the territories of her Imperial Majesty, by the citizens of the United States in their own proper vessels, by a direct navigation from the countries where the same commodities shall have been produced or manufactured, that in such case there shall be abated and deducted from the duties imposed upon such commodities one —— part thereof; but if they shall import the same indirectly from any European port, they shall pay the duties in full, according to the tariff. It is particularly agreed, that all raw and refined sugars, not in loaves, when imported by the citizens of the United States as above by a direct navigation shall be free of any duties.

ARTICLE VII.

All possible assistance and despatch shall be given to the loading and unloading of vessels, as well for the importation as for the exportation of commodities, according to the regulations on that head established; and they shall not be detained in any manner, under the penalties denounced in the said regulations. And to prevent vexations and grounds of complaint, it is agreed, that all merchandises when once put on board the vessels of the citizens and subjects of the contracting parties, shall be subject to no further visitation or search; but all visitation or search shall be made beforehand, and all prohibited merchandises shall be stopped on shore before the same be put on board such vessels. Nevertheless, to prevent on both sides the defrauding the customs, if it should be discovered, that any merchandises have been imported or attempted to be put on board such vessels clandestinely, or without paying the duties, they shall be confiscated, but in neither case the persons, vessels, or other merchandises of the citizens and subjects, on one part or the other, shall be put under any arrest, or be in any manner detained or molested, nor shall any other punishment be inflicted upon them for such offences.

ARTICLE VIII.

It shall be wholly free for all merchants, commanders of vessels, and others, citizens and subjects of the contracting parties, within the territories of the other party, to manage their own business themselves, or to commit it to the management of whomsoever they please; nor shall they be obliged to make use of any interpreter or broker, nor to pay them any salary, unless they choose to make use of them. They shall likewise have full liberty to employ such advocates, procurators, notaries, solicitors and factors, as they shall think proper. Moreover, masters of vessels shall not be obliged in loading or unloading them, to make use of any workmen who may be appointed by public authority for that purpose; but it shall be entirely free for them to load or unload their vessels by themselves, and their own proper mariners, or to make use of such persons in loading or unloading their vessels as they shall think fit, without the payment of any salary to any other whomsoever; neither shall they be forced to unload any sort of merchandises into other vessels of any sort, or to receive them into their own, or to wait for their being loaded longer than they shall have contracted for.

ARTICLE IX.

If any dispute shall arise between any commander of the vessels of either party and his seamen, in any port of the other party, concerning wages due to the said seamen, or other civil causes, the magistrate of the place shall require no more from the person complained against, than that he give to the complainant a declaration in writing, witnessed by the magistrate, whereby he shall be bound to prosecute that matter before a competent judge in his own country according to the law thereof; which being done, it shall not be lawful, either for the seaman to desert the vessel, or to hinder the commander from prosecuting his voyage. And if at any time any seamen should desert their vessels, upon complaint thereof made to the magistrate of the place by the commander of the vessel, he shall cause all such deserters to be sought for, and if found, to be restored immediately to the commander of the vessel, or, if he shall desire it, to be confined in prison, or some safe place at his expense, to be delivered up to him when he shall be about to depart with his vessel.

ARTICLE X.

It shall be permitted to the citizens of the United States, who shall establish themselves in Russia, to build, buy, sell, hire, or let houses in the towns of St Petersburg, Moscow, and Archangel, and in all other towns of the empire, which have not rights of burghership, and privileges to the contrary; and it is particularly agreed, that the houses which they shall possess and inhabit within any parts of the empire, shall be exempted from all quartering of soldiers or other lodgements, so long as the same shall be actually possessed and occupied by themselves. On the other hand, permission shall likewise be granted to the Russian merchants to build, buy, hire, sell, or let houses within all parts of the territories of the United States, in the same manner as now is, or shall hereafter be granted to the most favored nations; and all such houses as they shall build, buy, or hire, shall, so long as they shall continue to dwell in the same themselves, be exempt from all quartering of soldiers or other lodgements, throughout all parts of the same territories, without exemption of places.

ARTICLE XI.

The citizens and subjects of the contracting parties shall, within the territory of the other party, have full liberty to take and receive into the houses they inhabit, or into their particular magazines, all such commodities as they shall have imported, or as shall be consigned to them; and to this end, they shall be delivered up to them from the public magazines, if required, as soon as conveniently may be, after they shall have paid the duties and other lawful charges thereon; and they shall have full liberty to sell and dispose of the same at their houses and particular magazines as they shall think fit, upon this express condition, however, that they shall not sell them there or elsewhere by retail; and they shall not be charged with any taxes or impositions whatever on account of their enjoying this privilege, or with any other than the most favored nations shall pay.

ARTICLE XII.

To prevent fraud, which might otherwise take place, and to establish a mutual confidence in matters of commerce, it is agreed, that all the citizens and subjects of the contracting parties, whether residents in their own or in the territories of the other party, who shall have arrived to the full age of twentyone years, (being of sound mind, excepting always the Russian peasants) shall be judged capable of making contracts in their own names, and shall, accordingly, be held and obliged to fulfil and perform all contracts and engagements, which they shall so make and enter into, agreeably to the rules of good faith; and this, whether their fathers, or mothers, or both, shall be living or dead at the time of making the contract, or whether they have been portioned or not by them, or either of them. And all the Russian clerks or servants employed in the shops shall be registered in some tribunal, and their masters shall be responsible for them in affairs of trade and commerce, bargains or contracts, which they shall make in their names.

ARTICLE XIII.

When the Russian merchants shall cause to be enregistered at the custom house their contracts or bargains for the sale or purchase of merchandises, by their clerks or factors, or others employed by them, the officers of the customs where these contracts shall be enregistered, shall carefully examine if those who contract for the account of their principals, are authorised by them with orders or full powers made in good and due form, in which case, the said principals shall be responsible as if they had contracted themselves in person. But if the said clerks, factors, or other persons employed for the said merchants, are not provided with sufficient orders or full powers in writing, they shall not be believed upon their word, and although the officers of the customs are charged to watch in this respect, the contractors shall, nevertheless, take care for themselves that the agreements or contracts that they make together exceed not the procurations or full powers, which have been confided to them by their employers, since these last are not held to answer but for the objects and amount for which the full powers have been given by them.

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